ArmInfo. The Iranian side still reviews the possibility of construction of the Armenia-Iran railway. The representative of the Ministry of Transport and Urban Development of Iran Mehdi Ashfari told journalists on March 6 at the margins of the meeting of the TRACECA Intergovernmental Commission. He clarified that the Iranian side views this project as a very important one.
He noted the importance of creating a transport corridor between the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea. "If Armenia also starts construction work, I think there will be no problems for the simple reason that the Iranian railway reaches the border of Armenia, and we do not see any obstacles from the point of view of continuing this project. Is there really a desire and an opportunity?", Ashfari wondered. The representative of Iran stressed that "Armenia occupies very important positions from the point of view of its geographical location and is a bridge between different capitals, which is very promising for us". In particular, he noted that negotiations on the implementation of the program are continuing. "Iran is ready. It remains to obtain the final consent of other countries to start construction work," he concluded.
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a press conference in Tbilisi that "in the case of a corridor between the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea, great opportunities will open, the cost of transportation will significantly decrease."
On February 12, in an interview with journalists, the Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Seyed Kazem Sadjadi also noted that the Armenian side should make the first step towards the construction of the Iran-Armenia railway.
It is noteworthy that the project, which was announced as early as in 2012, is not still completely formed. At the moment, according to a very approximate calculation, the construction cost is estimated at $ 3.2 billion. The routes of connection with the operating railway through the Sevan coast (Sevan station) are discussed, the other is through the Ararat valley (Yeraskh station). "At the moment the route through Sevan is preferable," Minister Vahan Martirosyan explained. As he said, all for the same rough estimates, the payback period of the project is estimated at 22 years.
According to the project, the total length of the road on the territory of Armenia will be 305 km. It will have 86 bridges, a total length of 19.6 km and 60 tunnels with a total length of 102 km. Construction in accordance with the submitted program should be completed in 2022.
However, according to independent economic analysts, the economic inefficiencies in the construction of the Iran-Armenia railway are based on three major factors. This, first of all, is the deadlock of the Armenian railway and the impossibility of its direct access to the "Russian and Eurasian expanses". Secondly, even with the hypothetical possible unblocking of the Abkhaz section of the railway in the future, the presence of the currently constructed Iran-Armenia section of the North-South highway will make the Iran-Armenia railway, in connection with its insignificant length, ineffective. To this initially low efficiency, the third, perhaps most important, factor is added: the railway project of the Astara-Resht- Qazvin railroad realized by the Railways. This is a transport corridor that connected the existing railways of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. The project was implemented within the framework of the international transport corridor "North-South", whose goal is the integration of the transport and information highways of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, India and Oman. According to analysts, the Iran-Armenia railway project is exclusively politically motivated and that is why, during the last 5 years, it practically did not manage to move from the dead center.
However, on the eve the Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technologies of Armenia Vahan Martirosyan received the Director General of the Office for Eurasian Civil Engineering Corporation of China, Jiang Aiming. The company is interested in the design and construction of the Armenia-Iran railway.